Richard Leddy stood near the back of the Mississippi River Hall at Davenport’s RiverCenter late Saturday afternoon.
On stage, Ellis Kell and members of the “original” Ellis Kell band were belting out The Marshall Tucker Band’s hit, “Can’t You See.”
“This is vintage music,” said Leddy, 61, of Moline. “I love the Candymakers,” he added, speaking of one of the bands that had played earlier.
“How often do you get to go to a concert where you can eat and drink and listen to great music and do it all for a worthy cause?” he asked. “I love to listen to music and to eat and drink while I’m doing it. And every penny is going to help the people on the East Coast.”
For music lovers who wanted to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, “it’s all here on a silver platter,” Leddy said. Pointing at Kell, Leddy added, “He’s the godfather of Quad-City music.”
At least eight bands hit the stage for the nearly nine-hour disaster relief concert called “A Helping Hand from the Heartland.”
Organizers said about 500 people attended the event throughout the day, with many coming in to see their favorite bands. More arrived for the later bands.
Jeff Clark, 57, the original drummer for the Ellis Kell Band, and Sue Salathe, 54, both of Rock Island, weren’t sure they were going to make it to the concert. But they made it.
As Clark hit the stage with Kell’s band for a couple of numbers, Salathe said she was glad to see the bands coming out for such a cause.
“I’m really glad that they were able to throw it together so fast,” Salathe said.
Many of Kell’s followers were happy to see Clark behind the drums, saying he brings an emotional and physical excitement to each song.
Clark, who retired from Deere & Co., said he loves to play, especially when the cause is as important as helping people who are suffering.
“Anytime you can help out somebody else that’s less fortunate that you, you need to help,” Clark said. “Whether it’s a natural disaster or somebody stricken with cancer or diabetes, it’s important that we all do what we can to ease suffering and pain.
“It may be you one day. Pay it forward now, and it will come around to you if one day you need help. We’re Americans. We’ve got to stick together.”
Karen McFarland of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society said the concert “was a great idea.” McFarland said her favorite music is blues and that a lot of blues was being played.
“I like a lot of other music, too,” she said. “But I like blues the best.”
Pat Minnaert, 59, of Geneseo hit the dance floor several times as Kell’s band played and then hit it again when Smooth Groove took the stage.
Minnaert was hoping for a larger crowd.
“More people should be here,” Minnaert said. “Where else can you pay eight bucks to hear the best bands in the Quad-Cities throughout the day? And all the money is going to charity.”